Hurricane Katrina Pet Remembrance Day – 8/29

August 28, 2007

In an effort to remember all the pets that were left behind after Hurricane Katrina made landfall two years ago, I would like to share several disaster readiness tips for pet parents that I found beneficial to follow. I hope these assist you when setting a plan for coping with the effects of disasters of any kind to remember to provide for your beloved pets’ health and safety needs, in addition to any you have in place for your human family members.

Emergency and Disaster Animal Preparedness

As a conscientious animal owner you probably consider your pets as members of the family. In the event that a natural disaster hits your neck of the woods, are you prepared to take your pets with you and provide for all their needs during the evacuation time? If not, here are some guidelines:

Food and Water: Stock up on dry or canned food, being sure to include a mechanical can opener. When putting down a water supply, remember to have plenty available or your pet as well as a drinking bowl. A good rule is to pack a 5-7 day supply.

Medications: Be certain to have a sufficient supply on hand. Keep a photocopy of essential or life-supporting pet prescriptions in your emergency kit.

Identification: Microchipping your dog or cat will increase your chances of reuniting in case of separation during an emergency. By embedding a microchip with your contact information under your pet’s skin, a veterinarian or animal facility, with a simple scan, will be able to identify an animal’s owners. In some evacuation cases, a pet may have to go to a separate shelter or veterinary kennel since human shelters frequently prohibit animals for health and space reasons. If you reside in an area where evacuations are likely, be informed about pet shelter options before disaster strikes. In addition to microchipping, if you and your animals must be separated, be certain you also have your pets securely tagged and keep photocopies of the tags (and rabies tags as well) in your emergency kit. Also, have recent photos of your pets to make identifications easy and swift.

Transporting: If you must evacuate, make every effort to bring your pet. To ensure safe evacuation for a pet who may be stressed or agitated by the situation, use tagged leashes, collars and/or harnesses and keep the animal close by family members for both comfort and security. Smaller pets, especially felines, are best transported in well-ventilated wire crates or carriers.

Sanitation, First Aid: Pads, paper towels, rags, a litter supply, and pet-safe disinfectant will come in handy. Add some over-sized bandages and gauze strips to your family first aid kit if you have a larger animal.

Comfort Zone: A favorite blanket or chew toy can be just the thing to provide a sense of security for an animal under stress. In such times, take a moment to reassure your best friend that you are there, protecting him or her.

Credit: North Shore Animal League

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Terrie Modesto October 11, 2007 at 12:57 pm

Thank you for a very good article. We all need to remember the tragedy to our brothers and sisters in the Gulf of Mexico region as well as our animal companions who also sacrificed so much including many who died needlessly.

The best way I believe that we can pay tribute to thee wonderful animals is to do all we can to prevent such conditions in the future when disasters occur wherever and whatever the situation brings. The suggestions are a great beginning but certainly only a first step.

As human companions to our pets we need to secure appropriate and safe evacuation plans and facilities for our pets. The government is certainly not going to take care of animals when they have difficulty taking care of the humans in need. We as pet owners / family members need to rise to the level of responsibility in developing disaster plans that also include our pets in the preparation phase as well as in survival and recovery short an long term.

Our society has not done this hardly at all, nor effectively. By becoming as educated on emergency planning and response for our ENTIRE household including our pets we will be miles ahead when not if another disaster occurs either on a small individual scale or on a community / regional scale. By planning ahead, securing all the necessary emergency supplies we can help ALL our loved ones including our pets.

Thanks again for an excellent article.
Best regards
Terrie Modesto, PhD, CPT, CAC
Dr. Terrie Modesto, PhD, author of Train For A Hurricane and Emergency Get & Go Disaster Guide For Pets is an international expert in dying, death, loss and critical incident individual and community disaster preparation and response with 20+ year’s experience. She has over 60 courses, books and training manuals to her credit and is available for consulting, lectures and interviews. Website:


Jeff Hamilton November 4, 2007 at 2:34 pm

It’s great to see a list like this – when preparing we often forget about the “other members” of the family. We need to make sure we have the 5 year shelf life for food and water for us but also remember the pets. There are commercially available 5 year rations for dogs and cats and be sure to alot a share of the water for the pets – they can end up with dangerous digestive issues with contaminated water as well that can be life threatening — keep an eye on what they eat or drink in an emergency situation so don’t forget a leash to keep them from temptation.


Mike September 18, 2011 at 8:38 pm

This is a very helpful article. Living in Florida, we can really use this information for six months out of the year. We have also found it a good idea to keep a handly list of important phone numbers like those of family members, health care companies, an emergency repair contractor along with governmental agencies. These are probably the first phone calls you’ll be making soon after the storm passes.


Bruce Johnson September 29, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Thank you for posting this very informative article. When a hurricane is approaching, it’s usually too late to think of everything you need. As they say, an ounce of prevention….

It’s also a very good idea to have items available like your your insurance paperwork, insurance agent’s number, any medications, extra batteries, flashlights, candles, dry and canned foods, and plenty of water. If you can afford a gas generator, that is also a huge plus.


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